For all the good news reported about U.S. consumers spending more and paying debts, recent statistics indicate that credit card delinquencies continue to rise. For those in Miami, who may be considering bankruptcy, evaluating credit card debt is crucial to a fair analysis of options.
U.S. consumers apparently returned to their pre-recession spending habits during the 2011 holiday season. Yet, national credit card delinquencies declined 5 percent from 4th quarter 2010. However, delinquencies increased by 10 percent from the 3rd quarter. Even with this increased delinquency data, during 2011, Americans’ credit card delinquencies were the lowest since 1995.
These holiday shopping season spending statistics may indicate a declining delinquency based on consumer confidence and/or jobs increases. It should be noted however that while the credit card delinquency rates dropped by 4.88 percent compared to the previous year, the overall rate of debt levels with non-prime borrowers is increasing.
This shift projects future increasing delinquency rates and levels in the near future. This is likely because the average credit card debt per borrower increased by 4.80 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone. If projections are accurate, consumer delinquencies will continue to trend upward, at least in the shorter term.
Should consumer debt levels drop again, delinquency rates should follow. Consumer confidence in the economy plays an important role in debt levels. As consumer confidence rises, debt levels tend to rise. However, if this confidence is well founded and based on jobs and cash flow, delinquency rates need not rise with debt. Near future economic events will support or lessen delinquencies.
Source: NASDAQ, “U.S. Credit Card Delinquencies May Be On The Rise,” Feb. 22, 2012